In the last column, I stated the competencies I feel are critical under the first bucket (Strategy). I am happy that few of you called in to generally discuss the importance of design thinking and ethics in PR. Will certainly have an elaborate column on these two points very soon. So let’s explore the second of the four buckets (strategy, influencer engagement, content curation, and Digital PR) that I feel will help professionals deliver significantly better.
The second bucket is influencer engagement.
With the pervasiveness of digital modes of communication, availability of authentic, believable and relevant content has become fundamental. The agility with which a brand can create content and stay relevant can define its success. The content creation process can be time consuming. Here’s where influencers (key opinion leaders, blogger, subject matter experts, celebrities with large followers, thought leaders etc.) can play a significant role. These influencers know the kind of content their followers want and if they are able to integrate your brand message well, your job is done! If they are immersed well in your brand philosophy, influencers can create content that is both thoughtful and engaging.
So let me share with you, what I feel are a few competencies or traits that are required by a PR professional to really build a good influencer network, engage with them meaningfully and build on your earned social media potential.
Most of the PR professionals are natural networkers. The success of a PR person is directly related to the kind of associations he/she has and what value they bring to these associations. In today’s digital world, any and every person can be an influencer or micro influencer. A constant focus on building these networks will only help increase the reach and potential of connecting with thought leaders and KOL’s.
- Business connect
Gone are the days when for a PR professional media lists with good names was a key ammo. Today, in a world where digital is becoming the most prevalent platform, sectorial thought leaders, subject matter experts, academia, etc., are the real advocates of your brand. One positive from this set gets you going on the social media. PR professionals need to up the game and get in to relevant forums even if it is to just network with these business experts. I have personally done this across business platforms that are relevant to Godrej and this has actually helped connect with some great people who are truly aligned to our brand purpose.
- Peoples person / Social attributes
Being social online is also important. Recently, I was speaking at a communications conference with over 100 PR professionals in the audience. I asked the crowd a simple question – How many of you are on social media (Twitter, Li, Insta or FB)? Almost every one raised their hands. Which was good. Now the embarrassing moment was when I asked the second question – How many of you have enough followers to really set narratives. The general response was – we have never done enough for our own handles. Guys it is about time that every PR professional takes this seriously and spreads his/her reach. Regular conversations with the world help!
- Research and analysis
In your endeavor to build a network of influencers, it is absolutely important as to where are you playing. In an influencer pyramid, the top 10 percent are going to be the big celebs, social media sensations who have millions of followers. However from an earned social media perspectives, while they are good, they will charge! The bottom 60 percent are what I call the wannabees! They are the not so serious ones who dabble with social media here and there and can be comfortably ignored. However, the real gig is with the 30 percent content hungry, association hungry, serious bloggers and influencers who can really give the reach and impressions. Try it. You will be amazed. But to get them on your network, an ability to research them, figure their expertise objectively, and rank them basis their reach, needs an in-depth understanding of the metrics and realistic measures.
In part 4 of this column, I shall take up the third bucket viz. Content curation. We shall discuss the competencies required to be a good content curator.